The crisis of Paul George

If gambling is a focal point of the NBA’s future, injuries need disclosure.

by Henry Abbott

In the James Harden vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo MVP debate, there is an awkward reality: Paul George was, by some of the most respected measures, better than everybody. The reason he won’t be MVP is because his accomplishments are less gaudy, and much of his effect is on defense. But make no mistake, when the Thunder win, it’s generally because of the minutes George is on the court.

That’s why it was hard to recognize George in Sunday afternoon’s Game 1 loss to the Blazers. It’s not just that he missed a ton of 3s. He also winced a lot, fell over often, moved gingerly, and basically looked terrible. Despite all his length, his dogged commitment to defense, and his practiced shooting ability, the Thunder, unusually, played about as well with George on the bench.

He came into the game with a known shoulder injury but seemed off in other ways too. Less than a minute into the game, George curled around one of the best screens in the game, from Steven Adams. He took two hard dr…

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